Learning Blender

One thing I've always felt was a bit limiting for me as a programmer wanting to create games is a lack of artistic assets. Most games require some kind of art work: images, drawings, music, etc. And I have pretty much no experience creating art. I never even took a single drawing or sculpting class in school. I figured that if I were ever going to create a full game by myself, it would probably need to be something like Geometry Wars so I wouldn't need much art. I do love Geometry Wars, but there are lots of other types of games out there.

Fortunately, I recently realized how fun and useful 3D modeling tools can be. I guess it started when I was learning SketchUp for a woodworking project I was doing. Maybe I'll talk about that project or about SketchUp some other time, but today I want to talk about how I've started learning Blender. When I started learning Unity, it really became clear how critical it is to have 3D models (or 2D images) to work with, even if they're just placeholders that might be replaced by better ones later.

I wanted a lovebird model for the bird game I was working on, so I went looking on the Unity asset store and managed to find one that I liked. But it was $20 and I wasn't sure I was that serious about the project yet to spend that much on a single model. I decided to try to make a placeholder myself. Then if the game did become a serious project, I could buy a good model and replace it later.

I started learning Blender just from just from the tutorials on Blender's website, until I started hitting the ones that required a Blender Cloud subscription. At that point, I started watching tutorials on YouTube, including this basic one and this one about creating low-poly animals. Those actually got me pretty far, and I was able to create something that did resemble a lovebird. But they also showed me how much there was to learn.

After watching those videos I kept seeing ads for online courses. I eventually clicked on this Blender course on Udemy. I'd never used Udemy before or bought an online course before anywhere else. But I decided to buy this one after watching the free sections. It was only $10 for new users when I bought it and it has 48 hours of content, which seemed like a pretty good deal to me. I'm a little less than half way through the course and, so far, it's pretty good. I've made a bowling ball, bowling pins, chess board, and all the chess pieces.

I've already learned a lot and I'm excited to continue learning more. Even if I'm never able to create anything better than placeholder-quality models, I think this is a skill that will serve me well in the future. Plus, the fewer excuses I have for not creating games the better. I've already started using some of the models I've been creating. I'll talk more about that later.